Dittmer Lab Research Images Chosen for NIH Gallery

Three microscopy images taken by Brent Eason were recently chosen to be featured in the NIH Funded Research image gallery.
Dittmer Lab Research Images Chosen for NIH Gallery click to enlarge Fluorescent Expression of HHV-8 LANA “Dots”

The flickr gallery is a collection of images created by researchers at NIH-funded institutions. The Dittmer lab receives funding from NCI grants, which allows us to combine advanced in vivo and in vitro techniques with high-quality imaging. Images were captured using Leica brightfield and fluorescence microscopy equipment with LAS (Leica) or Metamorph (Molecular Devices) software.


See the images in our Gallery here.


External Link to NIH Flickr Gallery here.

Vironomics Core successfully develops an improved ZIKV viral load assay

The UNC Vironomics (viral genomics) Core aims to facilitate ZIKV research projects at UNC, from translational research, to animal studies, to high-throughput screening.

Find the article here.


"With funding from the Core Facilities Advocacy Committee (CFAC), The UNC Vironomics Core has successfully developed a high-throughput RT-qPCR viral load assay for ZIKV. After evaluation of 10 published assays for ZIKV nucleic acid detection, the Vironomics Core has developed an improved ZIKV viral load assay. The Vironomics Core continues to improve the sensitivity of this assay, as well as evaluating a whole genome sequencing assay compatible with sequencing virus from clinical samples. Additionally, the Vironomics Core continues to develop high-throughput RT-qPCR assays for flaviviruses commonly found in regions with ZIKV circulation: West Nile, Yellow Fever, Dengue, and Chikungunya."

Ryan's Mighty Exosomes

An experiment uses Brownian motion to measure the size of exosomes.

Exosomes are small (~30-150 nanometers) vesicular bodies secreted by cells.  Exosomes play important roles in cellular communication through the cargo they carry from donor cell to recipient cell.  This cargo can include nucleic acids such as mRNA and miRNA, protein folding chaperones, and biologically active enzymes.  Ongoing research is focusing on using exosomes as potential biomarkers, as their composition is known to undergo changes during times of stress.

View Video

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(Above) Short movie showing the movement of exosomes purified from BCBL-1 B-cells.  Brownian motion can be used to calculate the relative diameter of each individual particle, and in turn, calculate the mean size of particles in the population.  The faster the movement, the smaller the particle.

NIEHS - Five Viruses are known human carcinogens

A panel of experts agreed with the National Toxicology Program (NTP) preliminary recommendations to list five viruses as known to be human carcinogens in the Report on Carcinogens (RoC)

2015 Duke-UNC Symposium on Viral Oncology and AIDS Malignancy

The annual symposium on Viral Oncology and AIDS Malignancy will take place at Duke University  on December 3rd. Planned speakers include SJ Gao, PhD U. of southern California, P Lamber, PhD U. of Wisconsin-Madison, Nancy Raab-Traub, PhD U. of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

For more information, including location, schedule, registration and direction, see the official page of the symposium.

West Nile Virus causes 28 death in California this year

28 death have been attributed to West Nile Virus infections in 2015 in California (as of Nov. 1st). This epidemic is on par with 2014's 31 death from West Nile Virus in California.

West Nile Virus is a single-stranded RNA virus of the Flavivirus genus in the Flaviviridae, which also includes Dengue Fever and Yellow fever. No vaccine is currently available for the West Nile Virus. The Dittmer lab continues active research on the pathogenesis of the West Nile Virus.

The Virus is spread through mosquitoes bites. It is found in North-America, Africa, Oceania and West, South and Central Europe. Experts have suggested the recent outbreak in California is due to the drought, causing mosquitoes to move to higher densities of population.


Full Article here.